23 August 2012
The South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) has learnt with dismay that the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) will file leave to appeal the wage curve victory SAMWU has secured, even though SAMWU had won an outright victory to increase workers salary scales and the judgment brought to the fore the blatant dishonesty displayed by SALGA officials.
This kind of behaviour by the Employer body is a waste of rate payer’s money, as legal processes such as these cost millions of Rands. This is also tantamount to Union bashing and a complete disregard for the many men and women who serve in the Local Government sphere. It is clear that the employer body knows very well that it would not win this issue in court but seeks instead to delay the process unnecessarily, which could easily lead to instability in the sector. It is also not unlikely that the current instability could quickly turn into a second Marikana disaster.
Municipal Workers patience is wearing thin, as SALGA continues to display its arrogant contempt for workers. SALGA’s arrogant behaviour was further displayed as it continued this year to give Municipal Managers and Councillors huge increases in salaries and allowances.
The wage curve judgment referred to above will pave the way for a proper wage structure to exist in the Municipal sector, where jobs and associated salaries are properly graded. This will ensure that many workers who for years have been underpaid will now receive the correct payment. The effect of the agreement is that payment will be backdated to September 2009. SAMWU’s doors still remain open even at this late stage, to engage with the employer body, only to bring stability to the sector as further delays on the implementation of the wage curve issue could lead to uncontrolled industrial action in the near future.
In addition SAMWU has also filed court papers to the Constitutional Court, informing it of our intention to challenge the Municipal Systems Amendment Act. Our main concern with this Act is that it gives unfettered power to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to intervene and override collective democratic bargaining, that stake holders of the sector engage in. as was experienced in this year’s annual wage increase negotiations in the Local Government Sector. This Act is an attack on this Union, the Trade Union Movement and the entire working class, for this reason we will challenge it at the Constitutional Court.
For further comment, contact SAMWU’s General Secretary Walter Theledi on 082 558 6580.
South African Municipal Workers` Union of COSATU
National Media and Publicity Officer
Office: 011-492 2835.